Australia Today

Bees in Australia are Getting Drunk on Fermented Nectar and Being Refused Re-Entry to the Hive

Oddly, the phenomenon has been observed several times around the lawns of Australia's Parliament House.
Gavin Butler
Melbourne, AU
Bee on a flower
Image via Pexels

Shitfaced bees are falling from the skies around Parliament House as the silly season gets underway. A number of the boozy insects have been spotted staggering around near the parliamentary building after drinking themselves stupid on fermented nectar, while others have been found dead from what appears to be some kind of alcohol poisoning. As Australian Parliament’s head beekeeper Cormac Farrell explained, the phenomenon is likely a result of sunny days and rising temperatures.


“A few sharp-eyed folk walking have noticed dead & stumbling #bees on the paths around @Aust_Parliament and have asked what is going on,” Farrell wrote on Twitter. “The answer is alcohol! As the weather heats up, the nectar in some Australian flowers will ferment, making the foragers drunk.”

Farrell went on to explain that the fermented nectar will usually make the bees “a bit wobbly”, and if they try to get back into the hive while drunk then the guards will turn them away until they’ve sobered up a bit.

“The drunk #bees are kept out of the hive to stop the honey from fermenting inside, which could hurt the whole colony,” he said. And the security guards appear to be doing their job: according to the “online sensors” monitoring the state of Parliament House’s bee hives, none of the colonies have been negatively affected by the spate of drunk worker bees.

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Farrell also notes that, for reasons unknown to him, the issue of binge drinking seems to have only affected introduced and exotic honeybees. “I have not seen native bees impacted, and Australia has over 2000 native #bee species,” he wrote.

Seems like the locals might just be better at holding their liquor.

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